Most people, when you mention Barbados will think of beautiful beaches, tranquil blue sea and colourful coral reef scenes. You might, if you have read our previous blogs, or know about the region, think of ship wrecks too. But, would you think of diving any of the piers and jetties that dot the shoreline? We did. In fact, it was one of our specific requests when we heard we were heading to this iconic holiday destination. Why?
Piers and jetties offer something a little different. Their upright legs make the underwater photography change their view to portrait and as a diver you start looking more closely at your surroundings. We are not going to lie to you…many of these structures that are still in use are often a dumping ground, with trash and waste lying on the sea floor. So why the attraction? Marine life flourishes under these structures. They can provide a moody atmosphere to dive in and photograph, often with wonderful beams of sunlight bursting through the gaps above.
We dived two jetties on our recent trip, and were enchanted. The legs of each pier were covered in hard corals and bright sponges. Schools of Sergeant Major fish darted in the shallows, being pursued by barracuda. Shrimps, crabs and lobsters hide under fallen debris at the bottom, some 15m below the surface. Porcupine and squirrel fish try to blend in with the encrusted jetty posts. But the jewel in the crown of these sites are the seahorses.
We had to look hard, carefully examining each bit of coral and every discarded bit of metal work, and we were nearly out of luck, with air and time running low, when Caroline found a pair, one pink and one brown, clinging to a bit of old metal on the sea bed. It was fantastic! Having called over Christie, our guide, she then got her eye in and found 8 more in the same area! It was a real treat for our last dive in Barbados.
You need good weather conditions for these jetties, and you have to be very careful, as boat traffic will pass overhead while you are diving, so it is important to ascend close to the pier legs and then swim out to where the boat will be waiting. We loved diving the piers of Barbados, as they gave us atmospheric dives full of superb marine life. As we toured the coastline on our final day, our small group pointed out several more that looked well worth exploring. So, it might not be the first thing you think about when you are headed to Barbados, but you should certainly give the jetties and piers a go when you get there.
For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com